WASHINGTON - June 21 - Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA's executive director, made the following statement in response to the alleged killing and torture of two U.S. soldiers in Ramadi, Iraq:
"Amnesty International, first and foremost, extends its sincerest condolences to the families of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker for their tragic loss. We are deeply disturbed by reports that these two soldiers were brutally tortured. These reports, if proven true, may rise to the level of war crimes.
Amnesty International condemns the torture or summary killing of anyone who has been taken prisoner and reiterates that such acts are absolutely prohibited in international humanitarian law. This prohibition applies at all times, even during armed conflict. There is no honor or heroism in torturing or killing individuals. Those who order or commit such atrocities must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law without recourse to the death penalty.
Amnesty International again calls on armed groups in Iraq to immediately cease all executions, torture or ill-treatment of people. Armed groups, like other parties to the conflict in Iraq, are required to comply strictly with international law and remain accountable for their actions."
Amnesty International released a report, Iraq, In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups, in July 2005. For a copy of the report, contact the AIUSA press office at 202-544-0200 ext. 302.